When it comes to the alcohol recovery timeline, everyone is different. If you or someone you know is undergoing treatment for the abuse of alcohol, it will help you to have an idea of this timeline. This way, you can set yourself up for success, or temper expectations so they’re appropriate for the situation.
Alcohol recovery is no joke, and everyone’s story is a little different. How they got there (or how long it took) doesn’t matter. The key is making sure they get the help they need in that moment.
Here are some things you can expect along the way.
Perhaps the most difficult stage of most alcohol recovery stories is withdrawal. It takes the body some time to get rid of alcohol, which it has grown accustomed to. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach problems
Depending on the severity of alcohol abuse—and the length of time—symptoms might be more severe. Hallucinations and delusions are possible, and if these happen you should immediately get in touch with a doctor. There’s a chance that your body could be shutting down.
First And Second Week Symptoms
Each person’s alcohol recovery timeline varies, though it usually takes 4 to 5 days to get the stuff out of your system completely. This is when life without alcohol really starts, and a former drinker must teach (or re-teach) themselves how to lead a productive life while sober.
AA meetings or AA treatments are common. Some people start going to these right away and continue going to meetings daily until they feel like they can navigate their life without them. Or, they just go indefinitely.
(Here’s where you can learn more about recovery chips and Alcoholic’s Anonymous.)
There’s really no one way to do it—if you or a loved one is beyond the withdrawal stage, the priority should be figuring out how to set your life up so you don’t get tempted to abuse alcohol again.
Studies show that after 30 days liver health improves. Your physical body is improving, but the mind sometimes lags behind. One month into your sobriety is a common time for depression or anxiety to creep in.
At this juncture, your priority should be to lean on the healthy habits you’ve installed in your life. Whether you’re going to meetings, exercising, or checking in with a sponsor or loved ones daily, prioritize these things above all else.
After 3 to 6 months, your new habits will become like second nature. If you’ve gone this long without having a drink, you’ve got enough “proof” behind you to lean on that you can stay sober if times get difficult. That’s something only time can give you.
The most important thing about any alcoholic’s timeline is this: don’t get fooled into thinking you’ve “beaten” alcoholism. Ever. If your goal is to stay sober and lead a healthier life, set yourself up in a way that you never look beyond the day at hand. It sounds cliche, but take it one day at a time.
Your Alcohol Recovery Timeline
There’s no one definite alcohol recovery timeline for each person. The key is to adopt good habits, take it one day at a time, and forge your own path. Ask yourself why you’re getting sober, and try leaning on that.
Above all, be proud and surround yourself with positivity. Alcohol recovery is not easy, but you can do it if you put your mind to it.